I thought my heart was going to burst. I was struggling to breathe. The faces in front of me blurred. The most awesome thing about all of this was that I was standing in front of a crowd.
I couldn’t fake my way through it.
So I just said these words: “Hey ladies, something’s wrong and I’m not sure what it is.”
I was at a mom’s conference with about 6,000 other women. Wow, mom’s really know what to do in a pinch. One ran up with juice. Another took my pulse. Another whipped out a blood sugar monitor and before I could say, “Umm, no thanks,” she had pricked my finger.
“Yep, you’re blood sugar has just crashed,” she said.
My body was telling me that getting up at 3 a.m. to drive to the airport, landing and immediately going into ministry mode, not sleeping well that night because 6000 moms who have been loosed from their children are partying in their rooms, starting again the next day at 5:30 a.m. and speaking three times in a row without an option to eat lunch wasn’t the best plan.
I crashed. It wasn’t fun, and mortifying is a mild way to describe what happened. As yuk as that moment was, it wasn’t my real experience with anxiety.
The next time I stood to speak at a different event in a different state was. . .
Because if it happened once, it might happen again.
I had my stash of almonds. I wouldn’t miss eating again.
I brought ear plugs. Let the people in the room next to me party all they want. This girl was going to sleep.
I scheduled my flight later in the morning.
Yet there it was. My heart hammering over what might happen, rather than what was really taking place. I don’t want to treat this lightly because anxiety is a real deal for a lot of women. It’s not anything they have asked for and it’s often misunderstood.
Dealing with anxiety was new for me and I wanted nothing more than to make it go away. It gave me so much empathy for those who struggle. Those anxious feelings haunted me for nearly a year.
I believe the enemy of my soul delighted in taunting me just as I was about to step into the pulpit.
I believe the enemy also wanted me to quit. To allow those anxious thoughts to keep me from being who He knew I was — His girl who loved sharing the Gospel.
I wish I could say that the feelings went away quickly. They didn’t — not immediately, but Philippians 4 became a path to walk through them. He wasn’t asking me to pretend they weren’t there for the feelings were very real and present.
They were real, but so is He.
I had to believe that when I stepped up, somehow He’d meet me there. And He did every time. I’d thank Him for that, sometimes even as I sat on the front row, breathing deep, wondering how in the world I was going to stand when they called my name. But not too long into my message I’d settle into peace and His anointing and it was good.
That hard year of trusting Him in spite of anxious thoughts was a beautiful confirmation. The things I do, the things that I am, it’s not always about me. I couldn’t stand up there and say, “Hey, I got this!” but rather I could trust that He was waiting on stage, ready to cheer me on as I stepped up in spite of my feelings.
Anxious thoughts can show up in a thousand different ways.
I’m not going to ask you to pretend that this isn’t a battle or that it’s not real.
Instead, I want you to know that He’s waiting on the other side of your anxious thoughts. It’s an adventure of sorts. I know I use that word a lot, but it’s where He often leads me.
Are you going to trust me?
Do you know that I can use your life to impact others (in your family, in ministry, in friendships) even if you have anxious thoughts?
He’s big like that.
Eventually the anxious thoughts went away. I don’t miss them at all.
I don’t know if it was a spiritual battle or if it’s just what happens when your blood sugar crashes in front of a room of people and you can’t do anything about it.
I still pack my almonds. I still pack my earplugs. But I also pack in the truth that He offers peace for my mind and guards my heart. He’s going to meet me wherever I am, whatever I’m feeling (confident or not, anxious or not), and He’s with me in whatever I’m doing.
Today is #livefreeThursday. We’re talking honestly and bravely about anxiety or adventure all day long. I hope you’ll join in. You can #linkup or just leave a comment below.
Tell us your story or share your encouragement with someone else. Let us pray with you if you’re dealing with anxious thoughts.
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Suzie, fear has been a reoccuring theme for me in the season of life that I am in. I haven’t won all my battles but I keep getting back up and dusting myself off. I am determined to embrace the words of Philippians 4:6 -7. Thanks for sharing you bravery in such a vulnerable way. Sometimes you think people who have been doing public ministry for so long don’t deal with anxiety and fear. Glad to connect with you today and I hope that you will live blessed! – Kia
You have heart. You have drive. You have Him. I have no fears that God isn’t going to use your life BIG, as you trust and walk with Him and allow His Holy Spirit to lead you and teach you. So proud of you!
“. . . it’s not always about me.” Yes! When my stomach flip-flops, my heart beats loudly in my ears, the flush rises to my cheeks—it is at that point confidence in my own strength slips away. As I stand there with my pride puddled on the floor at my feet, I have no choice but to raise my arms to my Father and ask Him to clothe me in His strength. Let the adventure begin!
On Tuesday I talked about stepping into the “new,” and sometimes stepping past that anxiety with His help is part of the new. Not always, but in those times trusting Him is such a part of it. Our feelings (very real) are saying quit, turn around, don’t go there. I had to trust that when I stepped up He’d meet me there. And He did.
Suzie, what a timely reminder to not be anxious. Thank you for all you do to encourage and inspire. I totally get the blood sugar thing and start getting the shakes if I haven’t eaten. If you add in nerves of being up front on stage, I’m doomed. Anxiety is real. So thankful that God gives strength, calmness, peace, almonds and earbuds when we need them most.
Though it hasn’t happened since, I still carry almonds and granola bars with me. Not going to let that happen again! : )
I could use prayers. I suffer from OCD (an anxiety disorder) and some times have panic attacks. I also have a beloved senior gal Zoe who is quickly declining and I’m really concerned about her and am I going to have to put her to sleep very soon. I am supposed to be going to the Allume conference, but between worrying about my dog and having panic attacks about the conference, I’m not going. I don’t know if my dog was doing okay if I would be able to overcome the anxiety and be able to go?? I keep analyzing the situation…I just really wish that I was normal…that I didn’t have this anxiety disorder. Feeling like a failure.
Oh Bev… my heart hurts for you right now. I want to wrap you in a great big hug! I so wish that you could find a way to make it to Allume. Is there someone you trust that would be willing to sit with Zoe while you’re away?
This may be too personal, but do you see someone for your anxiety? When anxiety disorder, OCD, and PTSD overcame my son’s life, we waded through a sea of therapists before finding “the one”, but once we did, OH MY GOODNESS! She has been a God-send in our lives. Oftentimes we try to make ourselves believe (especially as Christians) that seeking therapy is saying that we don’t believe God is big enough to handle it, or “heal us.” While I absolutely believe He is more than capable, sometimes His ways include therapy, medication, and other forms of treatment to arrive at the healing place.
Ask Him to guide you to the treatment that will be best for you. It may be a trial and error. But He most definitely does not intend for you to live in fear and anxiety, and allow it to rule your life. Trust that He has plans for you that are far greater than this, and He desires to see you whole! He sees your pain, and He will carry you. You are an overcomer, you are strong, and you are brave! He sees it, and I do, too!
I am praying for Him to wrap you in His perfect peace tonight, and guide you through this journey. Love and prayers, sweet lady!
Father, today we stand with our friend, Bev. Thank you for walking with her through these anxious thoughts. I ask in your name that her thoughts be calmed, that they settle in such a way that she senses you close. Thank you for her honesty and her bravery. In Jesus’ name.
Suzie, thank you for sharing this part of your life with us. Such encouragement for those of us who struggle with anxiety, and a timely reminder He’s with us in whatever we’re doing. Thank you. Much love to you today!
It was only a year or so, but it allowed me to sit beside someone and not dismiss those feelings. It also showed me the power of trusting God in spite of my feelings. Today I stand in front of an audience with joy. <3
This is me. Don’t know why I suddenly went incognito!
Yeah, sadly anxiety is alive and well for many of us. It often comes and goes, sometimes for no reason and sometimes because way too many things in life have collided right in front of our disbelieving eyes.
I believe God is in the midst of this and that He reaches out to comfort, consul, and teach. But I also know that anxiety is a medical issue that deserves the treatment that is available. We are fearfully and wonderfully made … and the physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental are hard to tease apart.
Thank you for this post, Suzie …
My husband is a counselor. My daughter and SIL are both counselors. I’m surrounded by people who believe in the power of healing, but also who allow God to use them to be the hands and feet of Christ. I hear you. Whatever heals and makes us whole, I love that! What I also love is that God is partnering in the process. <3
I know just what you mean! All of it! Thank you!
Samantha, I love that you are part of this community. <3
I remember sitting in my college sorority house 20 years ago panicking on the phone with my little sister. Anxiety welling up and I was unable to stuff it down. She gave me the verses you used today. They are still some of my favorite. Tender words from a tender Father.
I love this, Heather. –> Tender words from a tender Father. So beautiful! I love that we connected in Florida and that it continues on today.
I’m so thankful to have connected here. Your prompts and my weekly topics have coincided for a number of weeks which has been really fun. You are a beautiful writer and an encouraging woman of God. Keep up the great work and thank you!
Meg, this is such a favorite part of my week. I’m so glad you’ve joined. I get to talk with women like you and hear several different viewpoints on a topic, which makes for a great conversation. Thanks for being a part!
I have been in that position. When anxiety kicks in, the sugar crashing… but as you mentioned, we have Him and God delights when we move past our fears, while the enemy recoils in anger. It is a long process to be able to move past that anxiety point, but with God on our corner everything is possible. So glad I found your blog today.
I’m glad you found it too!
Wisdom – such wisdom – is in your words. But I also pack in the truth that He offers peace for my mind and guards my heart. Amen!
And I am so glad you also prepare your natural body by planning and packing for it too as He packs peace in your heart.
OK. Here I am– the nursing diabetes educator part of me is speaking to you now. Not because you have diabetes, but because you had a low blood sugar reaction. And a low blood sugar needs to be treated immediately.
When you are in the throes of a low blood sugar your body needs “sugar”. Yes, real sugar Suzie. Sugar is the fuel of our bodies. When you are having a low blood sugar reaction it is so hard not to over consume too much sugar.
Here are some examples of some fast acting real sugars you can grab in a pinch. Think “liquid sugar” when you are having a low blood sugar reaction since liquids work faster than 6 or 7 hard candies (not sugar free) such as life savers, jelly beans, peppermints etc.
5 to 6 ounces (about ½ can) of regular soda-(not diet soda because with a low blood sugar you need real sugar).
4 ounces (about ½ cup) of fruit juice.
½ glass of milk-(doesn’t matter if it is whole, half or non-fat cause all milk has lactose which is natural sugar).
1 tablespoon of honey, jelly, or table sugar (a pack of sugar found in most eating places are perfect). Place it under your tongue where it will get absorbed quickly.
Next, (within 15 minutes) you will need to stabilize your blood sugar by eating a protein and a carbohydrate or your meal. Such as 3 or 4 peanut butter crackers, ½ a meat sandwich.
While you have already recognized that you missed your meals and were running on empty there are some nutrition bars with protein in them that can help when you miss meals and these bars are easy to carry with you. I personally like the Kind bars. Each Kind bar has 4-7 g of protein along with the needed carbohydrates depending on which bars you like. They are gluten free, non GMO, etc. Here’s a tip! Starbucks carries the individual Kind bars so you can grab one when you are getting your drink!
Once a low blood sugar is treated you will most likely not feel your best for several hours. So it is important that you continue taking good care of yourself. Eat your meals on time. Get some rest and drink plenty of fluids.
Sent with love.
Wow, great advice that I needed as well! Thanks!
As an Army wife I’ve had plenty of opportunities for both anxiety and adventure. During my husband’s first deployment without me, I was deeply gripped in the clutches of anxiety. Irrational fear of dress uniform clad Soldiers knocking on my door to make notification kept me from enjoying anything. Finally learning to trust that my God would be there by my side even if my worst fears became reality freed me up to find the joy in my days during his subsequent trips for Uncle Sam.
Thank you for your honesty. I was drawn to the title of this post and question- Anxiety or Adventure. I try to look at parenting- and life — as an adventure. Letting go of perfectionism and “performance-ism” is one way I try to do this. Enjoying the journey. Thanks for this- trying to connect to other mom readers. Thanks for all you do to do that! – Cornelia
I am learning that God uses people to touch me at my point of need. For me, the part of this article that spoke to my need was this, “But not too long into my message I’d settle into peace and His anointing and it was good.” I love that you feel His anointing and peace on you when you speak. What a gift. I’m praying for that too…
I have often felt that type of anxiety and sometimes it has made my mind go completely blank. I literally cannot remember a single word of what I was planning to say. I know that it is as you said,”I believe the enemy also wanted me to quit. To allow those anxious thoughts to keep me from being who He knew I was — His girl who loved sharing the Gospel.” – I am speaking to a group on Sunday afternoon, claiming His peace right now!
Thank you for always being such a beautiful conduit of God’s Word!
Blessings and smiles,
That feeling of knowing something is going on yet not sure exactly what is so scary. I’m glad you had some fast acting girls around to help you.
I was very ill for a while and then the anxiety set in. Fear, uncertainty. Ughhh. I hated those feelings. I felt so for you as I read your post. I love that you said it’s about trust. It really is. Job said though you slay me I will still trust in you Lord. That’s a hard proclamation. Hard, but a necessary part of trust and moving forward through our fear.
Love you Suzie! Take good care of you!
Suzie, I thank you for your honesty and God for using you to bless others through your regular sharing here. You just do not know how much I am blessed as I lived life.
Yes, I had anxieties, but many a time, God is faithful when i pray. At work, sometimes, i had to take up new assignments, be it event, or audit, I would feel nervous. Then the Holy Spirit reminded me to pray, and I would keep praying over it a few days.. I find that it helps and amazingly, i overcome them. I know for sure that when i forget to pray, things don’t seem to turn out as well.
Suzie, please know that I meant that I am very very blessed by your posts and God using you in this way to share your struggles and pain. I am not always in control of my anxieties and can be a nervous wreck too, but He had let me experienced His grace and goodness.